March 6, 2008


   Home Page

 News & Features


 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note





 Pop Culture



   Video Games
   CD Reviews







   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts





 Find A Hippo




   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad




 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover

Presidents of the United States of America, These are the Good Times People
Fugitive/EMI Records, March 11
“Lump,” from the first PotUSA album, defined this band as the punk rock version of a children’s book. If you were a pre-teen in 1995 and had druggie parents who were fans of bands like Alice n Chains, chances are good that you were force-fed the Presidents’ debut as a sort of rock n roll potty training, as if that’s a necessary step in child development. Thus we have a little reversion therapy for the younger readers here, as the band is sticking to their “Lump” guns into the post-9/11 era.

This stuff fit the Clinton era better, of course: parents had enough money to provide for their kids, and cuteness could be trusted. Cut to now, when all the 4-chord tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation of TATGTP — laced with a token dirty word or two (“Mixed Up SOB”) — just isn’t innocuous-but-cool the way Reel Big Fish is, but instead red-dye sugar-sweetened Pop Tart commercials made for the overheads at Toys R Us (this despite non-kid themes about cultural fears [“French Girl”] and how it’d be nice to have a permanent fixer-upper of a lover to keep rescuing from one disaster to another [“More Bad Things”]). Don’t get me wrong; the songs are catchy and geeky-funny-ha-ha when it wants to be. But joke-band-land is overcrowded these days — with Reel Big Fish, a zillion emo hambones and whatever’s left of Weird Al — and little space remains for bands whose members aren’t interested enough in their own jokes to keep their respective franchises going year after year. BEric W. Saeger